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Best Practices for Human Resources Compliance


To be successful, HR pros have to balance many responsibilities competing for their time, from benefits administration to recruitment and retention. But compliance in particular comes with potential penalties and often takes priority over other responsibilities.

In light of the scope and the stakes of compliance, it helps to have habits, routines, and processes in place to make your team more effective and efficient. Here are seven best practices for HR compliance:

Monitor Legal Changes

HR must always stay up-to-date on federal and state regulations. Labor laws often evolve in response to changes in the workforce, which means that administrators must find a way to monitor these changes in order to stay compliant. The best way to keep up with the latest labor laws is subscribing to updates from federal and state departments of labor and the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM). These subscriptions will alert you to changes in both local and federal laws that might impact your business.

Focus on Hiring the Right People

Of course, it’s important to comply with laws and regulations regarding hiring to avoid discrimination and ensure fairness. But HR should also use its strategic role in overseeing the process to make sure your organization sets high standards and hires candidates who appreciate the importance of compliance. Onboarding is also an opportunity to set the tone for new hires and should emphasize your organization’s culture of compliance.

Document Your Procedures

HR should document your compliance management procedures. By putting a procedure in writing, HR administrators can establish an expected course of action that increases consistency and accuracy. Include your policies and procedures in your company’s employee handbook and update it on a regular basis. This can be especially valuable considering the high turnover rate in the U.S. workforce. The clear and detailed documentation of internal procedures allows you to maintain consistency even as different people move in and out of their roles.

Cultivate Workplace Transparency

Transparency is key when it comes to compliance. Your employees should know what’s expected and why. HR and leadership should not only communicate, but also demonstrate a commitment to compliance. Similarly, notices should be accessible to employees after they’ve read and signed their acknowledgement. By maintaining this level of transparency, you also allow others to hold you accountable, which means less risk of error and noncompliance penalties.

Lead Regular Compliance Training

In many small to midsize businesses, HR is not only responsible for compliance, but also for training staff and management. So, naturally, if you want to improve compliance in your workplace, coach your workforce in best practices, too. Consider setting aside time on a regular basis to update your office on the latest laws and regulations affecting your industry or state. Dedicated training time is also ideal for giving practical compliance advice and offering opportunities to implement through practice, such as roleplaying.

Conduct HR Audits

The primary goal of an HR audit is to identify areas within your company that need improvement, including compliance. Approach an audit as a systematic review of every HR function, using a simple checklist. Part of this may also include whether your organization’s record-keeping policy complies with requirements posted by the federal government. Appropriate record-keeping allows for more efficient compliance examinations and avoids the costly consequences of missing records

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